The men’s basketball team went two-for-two this weekend at the East Campus Arena.
On Friday, the Engineers played the Clarkson University Golden Knights for the second time this season. In their last meeting the Engineers trailed 64-71, but this time hoped to come out on top. Senior Ricky Philatre scored the first layup of the day, opening up the game in favor of the home team and setting up for an exciting competition ahead. The first 10 minutes of play saw five lead changes before Clarkson took over and managed to create an eight point advantage with 5:50 left in the first half. Two minutes later, junior Mike Hammond landed a jumper that launched the Engineers into a 10-0 run, closing the half in the lead, 28-84.
The second half saw a much tighter defense from the Engineers. The Golden Knights were only able to shoot nine out of 28 from the field, including one of six from beyond the arc. RPI kept a spread of at least two points between them and Clarkson for the remainder of the game, reaching a nine point advantage with 1:14 left in regulation after junior Jeremy Bull scored four straight points on a pair of free throws and a layup.
The Engineers finished off the game with a win, 59-53. Philatre paved the way for the Engineers, scoring 11 points as well as five rebounds and a steal. Freshman Daniel Martin added nine points to the board and also claimed three rebounds. Bull finished with eight points, going four for four from the free-throw line.
The following day the Engineers hosted the St. Lawrence Saints in another adrenaline-fueled conference game. RPI placed the first scores on the board with an 8-2 run over the first five minutes of play, with junior Mike Brion contributing five of those points. The Saints battled back to reach a 16-16 tie at the midpoint of the half. The next nine minutes saw both sides trade the lead, but a three-pointer by senior Tim Rupp and a layup by Hammond grabbed a 28-23 lead at halftime.
The Engineers were able to extend their advantage to eight points three minutes into the second half, but the Saints quickly claimed the lead on a 17-2 run that placed them at 43-36 with 12:01 to go. After the sixth tie of the game at 3:13, the Engineers recaptured the lead. With 29 seconds left on the clock and the Engineers leading by only one point, junior Travis Jones stepped into a long three-point shot from the wing, pushing the score up to 65-61. Philatre then made one of two free throws to close up the game in favor of the Engineers, 66-61.
Junior Travis Jones netted a team-high 14 points, including four late second half three-pointers. Rupp also added 14 points to the score with five rebounds. Philatre contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds to solidify the Engineer’s dominance this weekend.
With these wins, the Engineers improve to 13-6 overall and 5-4 in the Liberty League, where RPI is currently standing in fourth place behind St. Lawrence, Skidmore, and Union.
This coming weekend, the Engineers will be traveling to Skidmore and Union on Friday and Saturday, respectively. They will also be visiting Vassar on Tuesday.